Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol
4.5
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Step back in time and walk the road to the gallows in a 19th century prison, be arrested in a modern-day Police Station or put yourself on trial in court.Home to Melbourne's oldest prison, historic Magistrates' Court and former Police City Watch House, Russell Street has been at the heart of crime, law and order in Melbourne since the 1840s. Most of Australia’s infamous characters, including iconic bushranger, Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor have spent time within the walls of this amazing precinct. A ticket to the Old Melbourne Gaol grants you visiting rights to the past, present and future of crime and justice in Australia.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Central Business District
Full of discovery and delight, Melbourne’s laneways tease the imagination long after you’ve put your weary feet up to rest. They weave through the heart of the city: cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques, throbbing with conversation and espresso coffee. You never quite know what you’ll find around the next corner: cobblestone alleys, old beer barrel hoists and even vats of simmering organic soup. There is the air of Berlin in the street art, a touch of Paris in the umbrella-shaded cafes and, reminiscent of Rome, eateries tucked away in the most unlikely of places. Perhaps you might want a break and cross the Yarra River to Southbank - walk along the promenade, bask in the sun at a waterside bar and decide whether to go to the nearby casino or book a ticket at the Melbourne theatre company.
Best nearby
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5,254 within 3 miles
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738 within 3 miles
Popular mentions

4.5
3,209 reviews
Excellent
1,799
Very good
1,105
Average
247
Poor
31
Terrible
27

Lydia
2 contributions
a must see in melbourne
Jun 2021 • Family
first time visiting and thought it was great! really interesting to learn about the history of the gaol and watch house and to explore the old cells. felt super creepy at first but after a while you get used to the vibe. probably wouldn’t recommend to families with younger kids.
Written June 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rhonda P
Alstonville, Australia6 contributions
Worth visiting
May 2021
Last minute decision to take a tour through the old gaol. Has a death mask of Ned Kelly and others. Interesting to see the harsh conditions prisoners lived in.
Written May 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeffry b
Essendon, Australia8,664 contributions
Old jail is a spooky place.
May 2021
The Old Melbourne Gaol was the city's main jail between 1839 and 1929. In that time, 135 people were hanged there, including notorious bushranger Ned Kelly. The jail is not an inviting place; thousands of prisoners suffered there -- men, women and even children. It's a spooky place. The staff are very informative.
Written May 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah K
Ballarat, Australia31 contributions
Great history lesson
Apr 2021 • Family
Had always wanted to visit the old gaol and it didn’t disappoint. What a magical piece of Victorian history that has thankfully been preserved. The cluedo game was great fun, it had us all enthralled to catch the killer. Interesting commentary given by the staff about the gallows, etc. then a visit to the remand centre gave us an insight into the conditions faced by those unlucky enough to find themselves in there. Certainly incentive enough not to do the wrong thing.
Written April 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kylie W
Melbourne, Australia46 contributions
Cluedo Experience
Nov 2020
We did the cluedo experience at Old Melbourne Gaol. Really fun, interesting way to see the gaol and learn about the history at the same time. We then went on the Watch house tour. The staff got into character and it was a good tour.
Written November 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jeffryb
Keysborough, Australia371 contributions
Gaol is one of Melbourne's top attractions
Aug 2020
Like most of Melbourne's early public buildings, the Old Melboune Gaol is made of bluestone. Bluestone was cheap and durable. The Gaol is still standing; construction began in 1839. Among the many people executed here was Ned Kelly, Australia's most infamous outlaw. It's a spooky place, life was hard for prisoaners in those days. The Gaol is one of Melboure's most popular attractions. There is a fee to enter.. By the way, you can do a self-guided tour or a group tour.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jeffryb
Keysborough, Australia371 contributions
Gaol is one of Melbourne's top attractions
Aug 2020
Like most of Melbourne's early public buildings, the Old Melboune Gaol is made of bluestone. Bluestone was cheap and durable. The Gaol is still standing; construction began in 1839. Among the many people executed here was Ned Kelly, Australia's most infamous outlaw. It's a spooky place, life was hard for prisoaners in those days. The Gaol is one of Melboure's most popular attractions. There is a fee to enter.. By the way, you can do a self-guided tour or a group tour.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jimchacko
Melbourne, Australia1,602 contributions
Good historical place in Melbourne
Feb 2020 • Family
Old Melbourne gaol is famous for ned Kelly. If you are in Melbourne cbd , then visit this historical place. It is just behind RMIT university; city campus.
The best thing is the drama that is happening twice a day, 11 am and 2 pm. It show the life of Ned Kelly.
There is a free tour to near jail and you can get the feel of being in a jail. They will put you in a jail cell for 10 minutes and you will be made to stand in line . There will be police officers to control the people. This is the best experience .
Overall make sure you have atleast 2 hrs to spend here
Written June 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Clare T
Dublin, Ireland50 contributions
Fun tour
Jul 2019 • Couples
Really enjoyed our visit. Perfect activity for a rainy day. Saw lots of kids enjoying the tour too. We did a self guided tour and it was really easy to follow. The information is well laid out and the staff are excellent. Would highly recommend.
Written June 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rantin rover
Biggar, UK8,226 contributions
Lockdown with a difference
Feb 2020
This was a worthwhile visit in our view combining history with a bit of role play.

Admission is $28 for adults, $23 for concessions (60 yrs +) with a variety of other options for families. With hindsight we should have taken our National Trust for Scotland membership cards with us - this would have permitted free entry under a reciprocal agreement with National Trust properties worldwide.

We spent a couple of hours between the Watch House Tour and the Cell Block self guided tour. However you could easily spend more time if you want to read all the material in both these sites and add on the Court House (which was closed at the time of our visit) and another self guided walking tour which covers the surrounding area (a leaflet is provided). We visited in February 2020, prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Watch House Tour was led by a member of staff in character as a desk sergeant who had us all arrested and locked up for a variety of "crimes" all of which we were innocent of save for our bad acting. This was all done in a semi-serious, good humoured way to give a little bit of insight into the criminal system back at the time the jail operated. The jail is not a mock-up, it's the real thing and was still in use up until as recently as 1994 with its padded cell being the only padding evident on what must have been a quite sobering experience (quite literally in some cases) for those locked up.

On a serious note, this part of the visit also gave information about the Russell Street bombing from 1986 which was something which we as visitors to the country had never heard of before. A young police woman was killed in the incident just across the street from the jail.

Next door is the Cell Block which dates from the mid 1840s until 1924 when it closed, save for a brief spell when it was used again during the Second World War for soldiers who had gone "AWOL" and been caught. The entrance doubles as the ticket office and sells some souvenirs, snacks and drinks.

Each cell on the ground floor has stories of inmates, the most well known of whom was Ned Kelly who was hanged at the prison in 1880, aged 25. Although Kelly has gone on to be immortolised in films and books there are many other characters stories which are worth learning about too as you walk between the cells. You are more likely to suffer from overload rather than run out of material.

There are a further two levels to explore which amongst other things provide details on the background to prison hangings (the memorabila for which is on display) and the Second World War prison connection.

The prison is apparently just as it was when in use although nowadays probably a lot fresher and less dangerous. As such the upper levels seem to be only accessible by metal stairs and therefore these may be out of bounds to less able bodied visitors.
Written May 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review. Great to hear you got so much out of your visit and enjoyed yourself so much! Carry that membership with you everywhere!
Written May 31, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Old Melbourne Gaol is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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